What The M&M's Name Really Means

They come in pouches, or they come in tubes, but in the end, they're still little round drops of chocolate in a colorful candy coating. M&M's have been around for years, from the early 1940s as exclusive chocolate rations to US soldiers fighting overseas famed for their portability and melt-resistant coating (via History) all the way to that one Christmas commercial from 1996 (via YouTube) that still comes around every holiday. To say they've made a contribution to the candy-loving culture of America would be an understatement. In 2020 alone, according to NJ Spotlight, 400 million M&M's are produced each day — a boggling number even for the most die-hard chocoholic. October 13th has even been designated "M&M's Day" to celebrate these colorful little bundles of chocolate and their fame all over the nation, per National Today.

But past the different flavors of peanut, pretzel, and even orange crème M&M's, there's one thing you've probably wondered about these little chocolate drops. Just what exactly does "M&M" mean? Does it stand for Mini-Malts? Miniature Melts? Meltable Morsels? While these are all good guesses, the answer to this question is relatively straightforward: it's the initials of the two creators. 

M&M stands for Mars' and Murrie

CulinaryLore explains that Forrest Mars, the son and former partner of Frank Mars, following a bitter disagreement about their candy company, went to Europe, where he became a sort of "spy" in the candy-making world. After sinking literally everything he had into the candy business, Mars decided to try his hand at making a candy that "melts in your mouth, not your hand." Mars returned to the United States following the advent of World War II and, despite originally despising the idea, went to try and get the Hershey Company to back his product. 

Upon managing to impress the company's president at the time, William Murrie, with his pitch, Mars partnered up with Murrie's son Bruce to produce their new candy, per Hershey Community Archives. Their company name was M&M Ltd — short for Mars and Murrie. It was only later that Mars left his partnership with Murrie and bought out his father's old candy company that the business became the modern-day Mars, Inc — selling M&M candies. 

As for why there's that little "M" stamped on each piece of candy? Not only is that to let you know you're eating an M&M, but it helps it stand apart from other generic "candy-covered chocolate drops" that may be taking advantage of M&M's popularity – or at least that's what M&M says.